TAPI pipeline: India opposes Chinese role
India has objected to any Chinese firm or consortium being given contracts related to the building of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. Delhi is worried about the strategic implications of the move. Jayanth Jacob reports. Ambitious planindia Updated: Jan 17, 2011 01:40 IST
India has objected to any Chinese firm or consortium being given contracts related to the building of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
About 735-km of the proposed pipeline will pass through Afghanistan and another 800-km through Pakistan.
But India reservations about Chinese participation in the construction could seriously affect the project. The gas sales agreement is slated to be signed this April. The Asian Development Bank, which has provided finance for the project, has already indicated that it wants to involve Chinese firms since these have "experience in building such long pipelines in a short time."But Delhi is worried about the strategic implications of the move, said senior petroleum ministry officials. It fears that China's involvement in the project could lead to it being perceived as an "avuncular arbiter of peace" between India and Pakistan. It could reinforce the notion — which China is keen to create — that it is capable of managing the "security issues" in Afghanistan. It could even be interpreted as a sign of China playing a bigger role in the SAARC region in coming days.
Washington’s vital interest in TAPI includes having an alternative route for Central Asian gas that will bypass the Russian pipelines' network. A Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement, signed by four nations on April 25, 2008 in Islamabad, envisaged construction to start in 2010 and supply by 2015.
India joined the project in December 2010.